Singapore was fantabulous, even if my hall pass from Banda Aceh was to cure the bronchitis I couldn’t shake for a month. The only reason the dr. in Singapore thinks I didn’t get rid of the bronchitis is because my inflammation wasn’t being treated. The antibiotics were fine. So, even if the bacteria had been slayed, my lungs were quite the holiday retreat for new ones wanting to breed.
So, no magic potion in Singapore, just the right concoctions of meds to cure all my aches and pains. Also nice to have meds with the little sheet of paper in it telling you all about the drug. And in English to boot. Tired of logging on to the Internet just to find that the medicine I’ve been given is not allowed in the United States, is really intended for veterinary animals, or the Web site is all in German.
I can see now why these ‘wellness holidays’ are so popular in the US and Europe. You know the ones; you need a triple bypass, but US insurance is so ridiculous that you book a flight to Singapore, Bangkok or India for your surgery and a little spa and shopping while you recover.
My wonderful hospital was RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from an amazing shopping mall. I made sure I had enough time to window shop before my appointment. I’m certain I didn’t look to out of place with my little Coach bag in one hand and X Ray films in the other drooling at Marks & Spencer.
Not enough time to do any damage to the Visa, but I did make it to my doctor’s office in time. I was only one of about three Caucasian people in the entire medical facility, and also probably one of two above the height of 5’2”.
After more hours of testing, breathing into various contraptions, more X Rays and the like, I was released. He wanted me to stick around for a few days, but silly me, I wanted to get home to the kiddies.
The X Ray alone was worth flying to Singapore. When I first showed the doctor the X ray from Banda, he just said politely, “not the best quality I’ve seen.” He showed me the old Banda X ray and the new Singapore X ray side by side to show me that my lungs were good (a.k.a no permanent damage from a month of inflamed tissue). Wow! While it looked like whoever took the Banda X ray had an astigmatism, I felt like I was taking some virtual reality tour of my lungs when looking at the Singapore X ray. It was like I was swimming among the bronchioles. And all for about $30 US.
Anyway, back at the hotel room, eating a late lunch so I could take a handful of pills, I started negotiations with SOS for my flight back. I settled into bed that night thinking I would be leaving Monday morning (giving me a day to relax in Singapore. Visions of a massage and many heavy shopping bags danced in my head.) Then the phone rings and my case worker tells me brightly, “Alright then! You’re all set! The driver will be at your hotel in the morning to pick you up at 6!”
WHAT! So close to a shopping mall and yet so far,… I begrudgingly turned on the light, and started repacking, feeling sorry for myself. Couldn’t get back to sleep, so turned on the telly and watched some Disney romantic teen movie that was actually quite cute and worth watching because I’d never get away with it at home. Why? Because my four boys (yes, Rob is included in this mix) would rule there was:
Too much kissing
No talking animals
Nothing getting blown up.
Then, I started having the world’s worst foot cramps. Both feet, my muscles contracted so much you could see them moving in my shins. I couldn’t walk, much less move. I sat in the bed wondering how long I should let this go on before I call the hospital to come get me. Thinking maybe I was having a strange reaction having washed down steroids, antibiotics and other stuff with some sushi and a Tiger beer. Then I thought, nah, life can’t be that cruel. After an hour they subsided and I got a few hours sleep.
Next morning, I dash like a mad woman through duty free shops picking up presents for everyone. Toys for the boys, more books for drama king, scotch for Rob. They actually have a scotch taste testing thing going on – at six in the morning! Really can’t think of anything more disgusting, quite frankly. No thanks on that one. Give me a Starbucks any time.
Then, I land in Medan, one stop from Banda. Still in partial paradise. I have ALL DAY to waste until my flight that late afternoon, so I find a taxi to take me to the shopping mall. (Really, what else did you expect?)
I get there at 9am. It’s Sunday, so nothing opens until 11am. Including Starbucks. I walk every inch of that un airconditioned, dark mall. I get excited about a Thai restaurant on the third floor. Bummed out when throughout the day I keep checking back and they have no customers. Have learned not to eat in restaurants that have no patrons after New Orleans experience. (Went to restaurant where first I cut into chicken to find it is still raw. Send back. Get chicken back. Go to take bite of rice and find a little baby cockroach on my fork. Gives new meaning to the term ‘dirty rice.’)
At the end of my day find dumbbells in supermarket (called Hypermarkets here because like Walmart, they sell everything), and heft 20 pounds of sand in plastic, computer and large purse through airport. Try not to kill anyone by dumb bells rolling around in overhead bin on airplane.
Find nice American family with a little blond baby about Sabrina’s age and attack them! Can’t take my hand off that baby’s head. Happy to be going home, even without my Singapore shopping experience.